Project Rousseau SH SAT Boot Camp

A Peacemaking Project by Alistair S. and Bethany T.

What is the injustice we are solving?

In our overall mission to end educational disadvantage, Project Rousseau students will help prepare middle schoolers from low income communities for the SH SAT (the test of the specialized high schools in New York).

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of educational disadvantage among low-income communities
we will address support middle schoolers in their preparation for the SH SAT.
by running a boot camp to help them to realize their potential in this exam.

Our Project Plan:


  • To facilitate to a boot camp to increase the chances of at least 5 middle school students in gaining places at specialized high schools
  • To create a blueprint for future bootcamps.

We will increase my / our compassion by...

We will listen to student needs and assess the areas of the test with which they need most support, while also supporting them in their other non-academic needs during their preparation. This includes providing food for them during the bootcamp, and enabling their transport to get to the prep sessions for the test.

How will you show courage?

Project Rousseau staff and high school students will dedicate time and resources to helping students in whatever way is most helpful to them - prep classes, one-to-one tuition, online support etc. - to ensure they score as well as they possibly can.

How will you collaborate with others?

We will talk to middle schoolers' teachers about students' needs before the boot camp, and work closely with Project Rousseau's SAT tutors to share resources and knowledge before we teach the course.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

By measuring the improvements in students' scores, we will identify areas where more work is needed. We will gather student exit slips and feedback on classes so we can improve during the rest of the bootcamp. Ultimately we will see in the results of the middle schoolers' applications how successful we have been and what further work will be required next year.

Key Steps

  • We will organize dates and location for an SHSAT bootcamp.
  • We will gather resources and plan lessons for the bootcamp.
  • We will evaluate student success and improvements in test scores.


Akila S. Peace First Staff
8 June 2018 10:48
Hi Alistair and team! We're checking in because you haven't submitted your reflection yet. Reflections were due on May 31 as a part of your mini-grant award. Please submit your reflection as soon as you can. We're looking forward to hearing about how your project went!

Here is a link to your reflection:

Jackie A.
4 April 2018 10:40
Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below.

Strengths: Your project is very moving. Access to academic resources and training are not equal across every community, the results of which lessen the opportunities available to students from lower income communities. I think your project beautifully illustrates that this obstacle (though great) can be overcome by community members willing to invest time and resources into tutoring and mentorship. The steps you have outlined to watch the progress of your work are concrete and your goal of advancing at least five students is definitely achievable. Additionally, the holistic approach you are taking in thinking about transportation and food services is amazing. So often we forget that there are a multitude of factors which keep students from achieving academic success. By understanding the bigger picture and filling in those gaps I think you are truly setting your project up for continued success.

Things to Consider: There are a few areas where I think you have space for more growth. I would suggest broadening your base of collaborators - you could include parents, relevant middle school school boards, and guidance counselors or school administrators from the specialized high schools. Adding these voices into the discussion and project planning will help you to get a more holistic view of how best to set middle school students up for success and could provide you with more partners who are able to invest more time and resources to help you. For example: parents could sign up to drive carpools for the sessions; families could provide some money for food or donate potluck meals; middle school boards can offer classroom space and teachers can volunteer to assist; school counselors / administrators from specialized high schools can provide materials, funding, or insight on how best to prep students.

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!

Kelsey T.
26 March 2018 20:05
Hi Alistair and Team! We're excited to hear more about your ideas to support middle schoolers from low income communities. I wanted to remind you about our upcoming deadline-- if you are interested in getting some funding for materials that you need to carry out your project, you can apply for a mini-grant of up to $250.

The deadline to submit your Project Plan and Mini-Grant Application is March 31st if you want to remain eligible to apply to attend a Peace First Accelerator.

As you craft your plan, be sure to consider the feedback we gave you on your compassionate insight, and check out our project planning tools for help turning your insight into a concrete action plan:

Then, through your dashboard you can make any changes you want to make to your "compassionate insight," record your plan in "Make a plan" and then "Apply for a mini-grant" for the materials you need.

Let us know if you have questions. We're looking forward to supporting your project!
Tom B.
8 March 2018 17:08
Hi Alistair,

Thank you for posting your project - it sounds really interesting. I am part of the Peace First team and here to give feedback on your compassionate insight.

It’s great that you have identified a real injustice - educational inequality reinforces the cycle of disadvantage. I encourage you, though, to be as specific as possible about your target group. You have limited resources so the more focussed you are on your target, the greater the impact will be among that group. Is there a particular group of middle schoolers from low-income communities that you are best-placed to support or that face this injustice more than others?

Also, the middle section of the compassionate insight (‘we will address…’) is meant to capture the root cause of the injustice that you want to address. in other words, what is happening beneath the surface that is allowing that injustice to happen or persist? What is causing educational disadvantage among low-income communities?

Once you have a really good understanding of the root causes of your injustice, you’ll be able to identify an appropriate and specific idea to challenge it (the final line of your compassionate insight).

Our problem and solution tree tool and compassionate insight tool can help you think about how to write your compassionate insight in a way that will help clarify the injustice you want to change, and the root cause your project is addressing.

We are on hand if you have any questions. Good luck!
Fish S. Peace First Staff
6 March 2018 11:07
Hi team! Thanks for sharing your project. Educational equity is so important -- and it's especially a problem that young people don't have access to the support they need for a test that determines their access to educational opportunities. Sounds like you have a really clear and direct solution to the problem -- I think it's great that you're tackling it head-on.

A member of our team will give you formal feedback on your insight soon, but I just wanted to drop in to say I'm really excited about this project. I hope it will help level the playing field -- and raise awareness of how so many "merit-based" systems are actually really unequal for low-income youth.

Here are some neat articles about this:

One more question: How can we help?
Brennan L. Peace First Staff
11 October 2019 21:32
Hi Alistair,

My name is Brennan, and I'm a Fellow-in-Residence here at Peace First.

I hope you're doing well! How are things with your project? We'd love to see any updates that you have to share. Please remember to submit your reflection as well when your project goals are complete.

Looking forward to hearing from you!